Song of the Day: Norwegian Wood(This Bird Has Flown) by the Beatles

norwegianwood.jpg

Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)” is a song by the English rock band the Beatles. It was written by the songwriting partnership of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, and was first released on the album Rubber Soul on 3 December 1965. Musically influenced by the introspective lyrics of Bob Dylan, “Norwegian Wood” is a milestone in the Beatles’ progression as complex songwriters. In addition, the recordings of studio musicians during the Help! filming sessions, and Ravi Shankar inspired lead guitarist George Harrison to incorporate the sitar into the song.

Lyrics:

I once had a girl, or should I say, she once had me…
She showed me her room, isn’t it good, norwegian wood?

She asked me to stay and she told me to sit anywhere,
So I looked around and I noticed there wasn’t a chair.

I sat on a rug, biding my time, drinking her wine
We talked until two and then she said, “It’s time for bed”

She told me she worked in the morning and started to laugh.
I told her I didn’t and crawled off to sleep in the bath

And when I awoke, I was alone, this bird had flown
So I lit a fire, isn’t it good, norwegian wood.

……

Although “Norwegian Wood” was not the first song to feature an Eastern-inspired sound in a rock composition, or even the first Beatles track, it is credited as influential in the development in raga rock and psychedelic rock. Not long afterwards, Indian classical music became popularised in mainstream Western society, and several Western musical artists such as the Byrds, the Rolling Stones, and Donovan integrated elements of the genre into their musical approach. Accordingly, “Norwegian Wood” is recognised as a bona fide raga-rock song, as well as fundamental in the early evolution of the genre later regarded as world music.

John Lennon had the idea for the song while on a skiing holiday with his wife Cynthia, in St Moritz in the Swiss Alps. They were joined by George Martin, who injured himself early on in the holiday, and his future wife Judy Lockhart-Smith.

“It was during this time that John was writing songs for Rubber Soul, and one of the songs he composed in the hotel bedroom, while we were all gathered around, nursing my broken foot, was a little ditty he would play to me on his acoustic guitar. The song was Norwegian Wood.” George Martin
“Norwegian Wood is my song completely. It was about an affair I was having. I was very careful and paranoid because I didn’t want my wife, Cyn, to know that there really was something going on outside of the household. I’d always had some kind of affairs going, so I was trying to be sophisticated in writing about an affair, but in such a smoke-screen way that you couldn’t tell. But I can’t remember any specific woman it had to do with.” John Lennon – All We Are Saying, David Sheff

The Beatles

A square quartered into four head shots of young men with moptop haircuts. All four wear white shirts and dark coats.

Origin Liverpool, England
Genres Rock, pop
Years active 1960–70
Labels
  • EMI
  • Polydor
  • Parlophone
  • Swan
  • Vee-Jay
  • Capitol
  • United Artists
  • Apple
Associated acts
  • The Quarrymen
  • Billy Preston
  • Plastic Ono Band
Website thebeatles.com
Past members
  • John Lennon
  • Paul McCartney
  • George Harrison
  • Ringo Starr
image:  MARK REIHILL
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